How We Treat Chest Wall Tumors

thoracic-multidisciplinary care team
A multi-disciplinary team, including radiation, surgery, and medical oncology experts, is essential to maximize patient outcomes and quality of life.

The treatment of chest wall tumors involves a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach. At Saint John’s Health Center, our thoracic surgeons are internationally recognized and committed to excellence in patient care, research, and community.  Your treatment will depend on the specifics of your chest wall condition and may include a combination of treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and reconstruction. Supported with advanced diagnosis and treatment technologies, we aim to provide greater options for patients, personalized care, and the best possible outcomes.

Treatment of Chest Wall Tumors

Treatment of chest wall tumors often includes a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Chest wall tumors encompass a variety of benign and malignant growths originating from the bones, muscles, or soft tissues of the chest wall. Effective treatment depends on the type, location, and stage of the tumor.


Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica provides a variety of treatments for chest wall tumors such as minimally invasive robotic surgery.

Surgery remains a cornerstone of chest wall tumor treatment, especially for localized and accessible tumors. Traditional open surgeries are effective but can be associated with significant postoperative pain and longer recovery times. Minimally invasive techniques, including robot-assisted surgery, have emerged as beneficial alternatives. Robot-assisted surgery offers enhanced dexterity, precision, and visualization for surgeons, allowing for more precise tumor removal while minimizing damage to surrounding structures. This approach often results in shorter hospital stays, less postoperative pain, and quicker recovery for patients.

Surgical Reconstruction

Surgical reconstruction is often necessary after tumor resection to restore chest wall integrity and function. This is achieved using mesh or prosthetic materials. These materials provide support, maintain chest wall stability, and prevent herniation. Meshes are typically made of synthetic materials that are biocompatible and well-tolerated by the body. They are surgically placed to reinforce weakened areas of the chest wall and facilitate tissue healing. Prosthetic materials, such as titanium plates or polypropylene meshes, can also be used to reconstruct the chest wall.


Chemotherapy plays a crucial role in the management of chest wall tumors, especially those that are malignant. It involves the use of powerful drugs to target and destroy cancer cells, either before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to eradicate any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered intravenously, orally, or via infusion or on the skin, and is tailored to the specific tumor type.

Radiation Therapy

Dr. Robert Wollman, Radiation Oncologists with the Varian Edge Linac
Dr. Robert Wollman, Board-certified Radiation Oncologist at Saint John’s Health Center, stands next to the Varian Edge Linear Accelerator.

Radiation therapy is another integral component of chest wall tumor treatment. It utilizes high-energy rays to target and destroy cancer cells. It can be employed before surgery to shrink tumors or after surgery to eliminate residual cancer cells. This approach is particularly useful for tumors that are not suitable for surgery. Advanced techniques such as 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy, Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), and Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), allow for precise targeting of the tumor while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

The Vasek Polak Radiation Oncology Department at Saint John’s Health Center offers leading-edge external beam radiation therapy technologies that can deliver the prescribed treatment in shorter and fewer sessions. This tends to improve patient comfort and may help to improve your overall outcome.

Call today to learn more about chest wall tumors. Our multi-disciplinary team is ready to support you.


If you have questions regarding Chest Wall Tumors and Treatment, please call today. Click here to request an appointment.